NCAA regulations on: age an athlete should be for Verbal Commitment or Letter of Intent.
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The age for young athletes verbally committing or signing a Letter of Intent are getting younger and younger. As a former collegiate and professional athlete, I can tell you from experience that a CHILD is not capable (nor should they need to be) of making a decision on where they will attend college to play a sport they may not even love in another 4+ years. The pressure to have to “follow through with your decision” (as some could view it), could potentially prove to be detrimental to the child’s psyche, not to mention their love of the game. Children of this age are still growing, learning and developing. Their parents and coaches likely have a profound influence on them at these young ages. While a parent is involved in the college decision making, it should not be their sole decision. A child of the ages ~11-15 likely don’t have the mental capability, experinces, or knowledge, to make informed decisions without influences from their parents, coaches, etc. Aside from those athletes who do sign/verbalize, What about their teammates- how do they feel? Good enough? Maybe not good enough, not on their teammates level... and maybe they “throw in the towel”, potentially giving up something they love due to a feeling they are too young to process. Furthermore, if these athletes DO attend these schools, the pressure that this puts on athletes will likely make them succomb to it. The student/athlete may verbal to a school that doesn't offer a program in which they are interested once they decide on their future job. The athlete is more likely to quit getting better because if they are good enough to verbal with "said college," why would they need to get any better? I don’t know the whole solution, but I do know there needs to be an age limitation (with professional input) on when we are expecting young athletes to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives.
Disclaimer: I have no psychology background. Just a former athlete with an opinion, with nieces and nephews that I want better for and for the love of the game.
Pictured: one of my Nieces, Brookley. *which brings a good point, I’m not 100% on the new rules/regulations on the face masks. BUT, it seems as though we are allowing children of this age decide where they go to college, but we don’t allow them to decide if they want to wear these face masks.
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